Tony was a prison guard at one of the prisons in NSW. He wasn’t a violent man, at first. But the other guards kept telling him what scumbags many of the prisoners were, and of the terrible things they’d done. They reminded him that his taxes were paying to feed the bastards. The Daily Telegraph told him that prisoners (presumably in other jails, because all the ones he’d seen in real life were actually pretty awful) were eating lobster and playing Playstation on their flat-screen TVs. He started to feel a bit resentful about the whole thing. And then one day as he was moving one of the prisoners to his cell, the prisoner called him something insulting. With words. From his mouth. And since it was already a bit of a physical environment, dragging another adult around and shoving him into things, it wasn’t a stretch for Brad to punch the prisoner in the mouth. The other guards laughed and said he had it coming.
After that, Brad discovered that he quite liked the feeling of power he got from assaulting prisoners. He punched, and he kicked, and he dragged, and he hurt them. And the other guards told him he was actually just meting out justice. People joking in the pub about prisoners being bashed told him that he was meting out justice. The Daily Telegraph cheering on violent assaults on prisoners told him he was meting out justice.
He did like his job “meting out justice” and feeling powerful through vicious assaults on other people in his care.
But Tony totally maintained the boundaries between his work and home life and did not in any way start to apply what he’d learned in prison in the outside world. He never ever hit his family members when he got annoyed, even though he spent his days reinforcing that it was okay to do that. No prison guard trained to feel powerful by assaulting other people ever has, at least not in any significant numbers, for all you know.
* * *
Joe was a violent thug who’d been in and out of prison for most of his life. Unlike Brad, he’d always known he liked hitting people.
And what was awesome about his time in prison is that, so long as he only brutally assaulted the people out of favour with the guards, they let him! In fact, they told him he was just meting out some “justice” to people who deserved it. Joe loved the feeling of some weaker person crumbling before his fists, and he kind of looked forward to his time in prison where when he beat people up, nobody in authority really cared. The guards didn’t tase him like the police might have. If he sent a prisoner to the hospital they made jokes and often if they caught him doing it they even cheered him on. He began to feel that basically he was quite justified in assaulting other people, and he was doing the community a service, and it didn’t really matter if he did stuff on the outside that sent him to prison because that was where people respected his particular skills.
But still, despite all that, he totally didn’t commit any more assaults when he next got out, because he’d learned that violence was wrong and he should avoid going back to prison.
* * *
Tim was not a violent thug, at least at first. He was in prison for trafficking cannabis. He had a pretty serious drug problem who’d bought some in bulk, figuring he could sell it to his other drug-using mates to pay for his habit. And in NSW they sent him to jail for it. What he learned in jail, as Joe belted him to a pulp that first week with the guards not giving a damn, was that being on the receiving end of physical violence sucks. He couldn’t rely on the prison authorities to protect him from brutal assaults, so he would have to do it himself. He spent the rest of his time in prison bulking up until he was strong enough to assault weaker prisoners. He learned the law of the jungle, how to use physical violence to exert power. He learned to like it.
But when he got out of prison he totally did not continue to rely on his recent training in thuggery. He wasn’t at all brutalised and turned into a force of anger and rage that would violently lash out at ordinary citizens when he discovered he had no employment opportunities because of his record and basically would have to return to crime to survive, but this time knowing how to hurt people. It all worked out fine.
* * *
Rupert was actually a pretty horrible person. What he liked most was raping people. Eventually he was caught and sent to prison, where he feared he would be under the authorities’ eyes twenty four hours a day and wouldn’t even get to beat anyone up, let alone rape them.
But there was good news in store for Rupert. It turned out that people were happy to turn a blind eye to his raping other people in prison so long as they were sufficiently terrible. The guards would turn a blind eye. When he caught sight of a copy of the Daily Telegraph he’d see people joking about it, suggesting that his raping of other prisoners was actually “justice”. Yeah, he thought, justice! This is great! And his victims were trapped with him. And he got to rape so many people that by the time he got out he’d discovered new and more disturbing types of sexual assaults. And why would he mind going back to prison, since it gave him more of what he wanted?
So Rupert learned his lesson that rape is one of the most serious crimes that society does not endorse in any way and once he left the prison system became a model citizen and never raped anyone again.